Bridging the Divides: Post-Disaster Futures

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CENTRO seeks to convene a broad array of researchers, writers, thinkers, and creators from across Puerto Rico’s geographic communities for collaborative study about our collective future. Building on our 50-year legacy of collaborative and interdisciplinary research, the goal is to create benchmark publications, media products, and artistic projects that can help bridge our divides, create bridges of understanding, and forge new theoretical foundations, policy recommendations, and conceptual and material pathways to reimagine Puerto Rico’s future.


The concept of “bridging divides” signals the need to overcome long-standing divisions that have served as roadblocks to the development of Puerto Rican Studies. This includes linguistic, geographic, and ideological divides as well methodological ones. Although Puerto Rican Studies constitutes an intellectual field, most scholars come to the study of Puerto Rico through training in other fields—many of which are still weighed down by outdated canons, and not-yet-decolonized methods.  To this end, CENTRO seeks to convene researchers working in different modes: scholarly, journalistic, and artistic. CENTRO believes that this undertaking requires the participation of scholars who can ground the conversation in historical, cultural, and legal research, but also the participation of journalists who are uniquely capable of communicating to broad audiences and shaping public debate.

Lastly, the work of artists is particularly critical to the development of the new epistemic frameworks that the current political and cultural moment requires. Artists have a unique ability to blaze new, imaginative pathways through the revelation of emergent ways of thinking on the threshold of consciousness. Rather than setting artists apart from scholars and journalists, this approach recognizes that artists are also researchers and often also scholars. By convening scholars, journalists, and artists in this work, the hope is to spur not only the production of academic texts, but also of public scholarship, journalistic writing, and artistic products that can help bridge disciplinary silos and plant new seeds for reimagining and re-envisioning the Puerto Rican future.


With support from the Mellon Foundation, Centro will kick off its second ‘Bridging the Divides Study’ group in Fall of 2023, in collaboration with the Center for the New Economy in Puerto Rico, focused on questions of Disaster recovery and the creation of a post-disaster future. The conveners of the group are Dr. Yarimar Bonilla, Senior Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, and Dr. Deepak Lamba-Nieves, Research Director at the Center for a New Economy.

The Post-Disaster Study Group will run from Fall 2023 to Summer 2024.The group will consist of two co-conveners and a core group of 12 scholars, journalists, and artists/cultural workers from both Puerto Rico and the Diaspora assisted by a team of 4 research assistants.

Members of the study group are expected to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours a week to their individual projects and/or to the study group activities. This time will be spent in individual reading and writing for their project, but also in biweekly zoom meetings, workshops, panels, round table discussions, and public lectures. Members will also participate in two in-person retreats in Fall of 2023 and Spring of 2024. All meetings will be bilingual with interpretation provided, and final products will be available in both English and Spanish.

Final products from participants can include: books, essays, digital exhibitions, interviews, podcasts, artistic works, and journalistic pieces support of Centro librarians, archivists, data scientists, GIS specialists, and access to research assistants to support their work.


Yarimar Bonilla


Deepak Lamba Nieves


Isabel Guzzardo Tamargo

Project Manager

Adriana Ocasio López


Sofía Martínez


Rodney Lebrón Rivera